The departure for CDG was delayed an additional 45 mins due to a technical problem however we landed in Paris at 0738 hrs.
Contrary to last years lengthy delay at immigration due to aircraft and passenger congestion, we were at the baggage carousel in quick time. The shine was taken from this good performance as we then waited 45 mins for our bags to arrive; we were very close to the last to receive ours.
Finding Europcar in terminal 2C provided no problems, however, receiving our car took close to 75mins. This was caused by a very passionate staff member trying to up sell us to a larger car. As pleasant as he was, I remained fixed on our original contract and settled on an auto Jeep with petrol - nothing resembling our initial request. A further 20mins was spent setting up the GPS and GoPro reducing the frustration we normally experience at this stage of a trip.
We were initially quite alert as we set of for our 146 km drove to Epernay . As we were Interested in checking on several small villages enroute, we drove through the Champagne town of Vandieries noting the large family Chateau that now appears to be struggling and many other “no name to us” wineries. It was after 12 pm and this atypical wine village appeared deserted.
We continued onto Epernay and were soon distracted by the largest of statues overlooking the Marne valley. This led us to find the village of Chatillon sur Marne where at village centre we found several restaurants and brasseries. We had not thought about lunch however were drawn to the restaurant where I had a superb steak tartare ( probably best ever ) while Kaye had the salmon pate. This was accompanied by my bad choice of champagne - bad in that it was lovely to drink but too much to drink at that time. We left the restaurant with a unique champagne stopper to rival a similar one given to us by Nicole from her previous visit of the Champagne region.
After lunch we wandered this small hill top village noting the 12th century village Eglise Notre Dame and the very large statue to Pope Urbain the second with his spectacular views - his adoration still a mystery.
We continued onto Epernay and after many street diversions due to road works and other changes we found our hotel and car park in the centre of the town. It had not been the easiest of activities and tiredness was setting in. Kaye elected to rest while I caught up with the usual trip admin. At 5pm while Kaye rested, I walked the centre area through streets we had and had not seen before. I really enjoyed the experience thinking it to be well worth a second quick visit. As we have come to expect for places similar, there were lovely fashion stores, brilliant patisseries and ?
I returned to find Kaye still asleep at 7 pm where she remained until 6.30am next day.
For the first time we felt uncomfortable not knowing what the correct time of day was. It started with the planes interactive map which did not appear to take into account daylight saving, a car where we weren’t confident it had been updated and a cantankerous wrist watch. Along with the lack of sleep it was difficult to realise what timeline we were working on.